Kelty Coyote 80 Backpack

Summer is half over and that means it’s time to get out there and make the most of what’s left. Whether it’s a domestic trail trek, woodland camp, or European excursion, the Kelty Coyote 80 internal frame backpack is a great choice for your gear and your beard.

Dick Kelty started making external frame backpacks in his garage in 1952. In his first year he sold 29 packs for $24 each. He hand-formed and welded each frame while his wife Nena sewed each one. She worked the nylon cloth, zippered pockets, hold-open frames and nylon back bands.


The original shoulder straps were made using wool carpet for padding. In 1963 Kelty packs were used exclusively on the first American ascent of the West Ridge of Mt. Everest and in 1966 Kelty packs were used on the National Geographic Antarctica Expedition. Internal frames weren’t introduced until 1974.

The Coyote 80 features top loading as well as front panel access. The top lid converts to a lumbar pack (read: fanny pack). Spacious zippered side pockets have an open pass-through for poles that can rest in open side mesh pockets. Two waist belt pockets are great for snacks and small electronics. A massive daisy chain allows you to attach extra gear. Made of ripstop polyester, the material on this bag is tough and durable.


I took this pack to Italy for 10 days and put it to the test. I loved it’s adjustable suspension and torso length (where the pack sits on your back in relation to the straps) as well as the dual aluminum stays. The framesheet and waistbelt are made of tough HDPE (high-density polyethylene).


The ventilation on the back panel was great in warmer weather and the lumbar support was welcomed when lugging around 50 pounds of gear through Tuscany. I appreciated the two layer padded waist belt and shoulder straps as well as the load lifter straps. The belt stabilizer straps and sternum straps are also adjustable. Adjustability is by far the key feature of the Coyote 80.


The torso size is 15.5 inches to 21 inches making it a great fit for young adults, men, and women. 80 liters of volume was more than enough room for my trip and size compression straps allow you to cinch the load. At 5 lbs 3 oz it’s a bit heavier than comparable packs, but it’s affordable price tag and durability make it a workhorse that is up to the task.


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